Six Volleyball Players Earn EPAC/Region19 Recognition

Six Volleyball Players Earn EPAC/Region19 Recognition

All six of the starting players on the Montgomery County Community College Mustangs women's volleyball team were awarded either All-EPAC or All-Region honors this season.

The Mustangs compete in the Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (EPAC), which is a subdivision of the NJCAA Region 19. Both the Region and the Conference recognize athletes of high caliber each season. On the Mustangs squad, each of the six 2013 starters were recognized.

Making the All-EPAC Second Team were outside hitters Alex Griffin and Courtney Gill.

Griffin is a second year player on the team and currently ranked 11th in the country with 0.92 service aces per set. This year so far she's racked up 104 kills, 12 assists, 59 service aces, 105 digs and 6 blocks and has earned 168.5 total points. Griffin's best performances include earning a .500 hitting percentage against rival Harrisburg Area Community College and notching 13.0 points against Bergen Community College.

Gill is a first year player for the Mustangs who has given the squad consistently strong performances throughout the season. She has totaled 88 kills, 40 services aces, 84 digs and 132.5 points. Gill's average hitting percentage is .268, though her best was a .700 on 10 attempts against Lehigh Carbon Community College early in the season. She also collected 12.5 points in that game, her highest tally of the season.

Second year player Jenn Casatelli also earned All-EPAC honors, making the All-EPAC First Team. Casatelli moved from outside hitter in 2012 to setter this season. The adjustment has shown Casatelli's level of talent, as she has, thus far, racked up 498 assists. She is currently ranked 15th in the country for assists per set with a 7.66 average. She is also 20th in the nation in services aces per set with a 0.82 average. One of her best performances included a double-double of 10 service aces and 20 assists against Delaware County Community College. Casatelli's efforts have contributed greatly to the Mustangs' success. In her team's 3-0 win over Middlesex County College in the NJCAA Region 19 Quarterfinals last week, Casatelli earned a career high of 11.7 assists per set.

Middle hitter Maggie Lesinski was named to the NJCAA All-Region Second Team in her first year with the Mustangs. During the course of the season Lesinski has led the Mustangs in kills, totaling 130, and digs, totaling 133. She is also ranked second on the team defensively with 20 blocks. Lesinski's best game of the season was the Quarterfinal match up against Middlesex, during which she earned a hitting percentage of .526 on 19 attempts. She also achieved a double-double twice this season, tallying 12 kills and 10 digs in the Middlesex game and 13 kills and 25 digs in a non-conference match against Penn State Abington.

Additionally, two of the Mustangs' returning players earned spots on both the All-Region First Team and the All-Region Top Ten.

Outside hitter Kendall Gazzo was named to the 2013 NJCAA Region 19 All-Region First Team and was ranked Number 5 in the 2013 NJCAA Region 19 All-Region Top Ten this year. The recognition topped last year for Gazzo, when she was named to the 2012 All-Region Second Team. This season Gazzo is leading the Mustangs in points and points per set with 214.5 points and an average of 3.5 per set. She also leads the team in total blocks with 40 and is one of the Mustangs' top servers, with 58 total service aces. Gazzo's service aces per set average of 0.81 puts her at 21st in the country. Her best performances include earning a double-double of 14 kills and 10 digs against rival Harrisburg and tallying 22 digs and 14.5 points against Penn State Abington. Combined with last year's totals, Gazzo has accumulated 251 kills, 78 service aces, 200 digs, 78 blocks and 438 points.

Lastly, second year outside hitter Liz Herezi was named to the NJCAA Region 19 All-Region First Team for the second year in a row. She was also ranked Number 3 in the 2013 NJCAA Region 19 All-Region Top Ten this year. Currently, Herezi is ranked 27th in the nation in hitting percentage with a .319 average. She is also nationally ranked 15th and 6th in service aces (64) and serviceaces per set (1.02), respectively. Herezi notched two double-doubles this season, earning 10 kills and 10 digs against rival Northampton Community College and 13 kills and 19 digs against Penn State Abington. She also racked up double-digit service aces twice, both times against Harcum College. Combined with last year's totals, Herezi has accumulated 285 kills, 106 service aces, 204 digs and 399.5 points.

Rounding out the Mustangs squad are first year players Jodi Hillsinger and Krysta Wellington. Hillsinger is from Collegeville, Pa. and plays at the outside hitter position and Wellington is a middle who came to the Mustangs from King of Prussia, Pa. While neither Hillsinger nor Wellington gained recognition this season, Head Coach Misti Volpe is confident in their talents and will look to them for leadership and strong performances in their sophomore appearances in 2014.

Overall, the Mustangs are ranked number 1 in the country in services aces per set, with a 5.21 average. The team is also 4th in the country for aces (354), 8th in the country in points per set (16.0) and 10th in the country with a .304 hitting percentage. The Mustangs are also ranked among the top 50 teams in the nation in a number of other statistics including 48th in blocks (78), 45th in blocks per set (1.15), 35th in kills (654), 33rd in assists (602), 30th in total points (1086.0), 25th in kills per set (9.62) and 19th in assists per set (8.85). The team currently boasts an overall record of 18-3 and an EPAC record of 11-3. 

The Mustangs are preparing for this Saturday's NJCAA Region 19 Semifinal match against the Hawks of Harrisburg Area Community College. In the teams' first meeting on September 14th, the Hawks defeated the Mustangs 3-2 with the close set scores of 25-19, 26-28, 17-25, 25-22 and 17-15. The Mustangs answered back, taking the second match up in a 3-1 victory, with set scores of 25-27, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-16. The Mustangs hope to earn a repeat victory to go on to the Championship Final, which is scheduled to take place later Saturday evening. Hosting the Region 19 Championship Tournament should benefit the Mustangs, who are currently on a 12 game winning streak and have racked up a record of 9-1 at home. Admission to the tournament, being held in the PE Center on Montgomery County Community College's Central Campus, is free and open to the public. Games begin at 12:00 p.m. and the Mustangs should set up against the Hawks around 1:30 p.m.